If you have ever wondered why the Millennium Falcon looks like tuning fork or how Han Solo got the name Han Solo? Solo a Star Wars Story will leave you giddy.
Han Solo is a young man enslaved by a brutal crime lord and in love with fellow slave Qi’ra. When their escape attempt goes awry, and they are separated, Han joins the Empire. Not to good at it, sees an opportunity with Beckett and his crew. They find themselves forced to pull off a dangerous heist to get back in the graces of the crime syndicate Crimson Dawn.
It probably sounds at this point like I really disliked Solo. But actually, I had a lot of fun. When the film focuses on the *story* (in other words, the heists) it is a whole lot of fun. But when it starts doing the whole “gotta show this thing the original trilogy referenced” it tends to feel forced into the story. And yeah, if you are making a Han Solo movie, you need Chewbacca.
The performances are largely quite good. I mean, Bettany’s Voss actually kind of made me curious about his background. Woody Harrelson gives a dependable performance as a weary smuggler, hoping to retire. Of course, Glover is a standout. He manages to channel the swagger of Billy Dee Williams without merely imitating him. The droid L3-37 is highly entertaining as a snarky co-pilot for Lando and a droids rights activist (When Lando asks if L3-37 needs anything, she responds “Equal rights?”).
Alden Ehrenreich is not bad in the role…but he does not quite have the self assured cockiness of Ford’s portrayal. The film plays Han as more of a “good guy optimist” who is on the path to the self centered cynic of a New Hope.
And while the film features many double and triple crosses, very little of these come as a surprise. The film tries to make you think you should be surprised…but stuff is telegraphed from afar.
I would say this is my least favorite of the New Star Wars films, but I still had a good time with it overall.